Why The Anti-Stigma Campaign Is Not Going To Work

Why The Anti-Stigma Campaign Is Not Going To Work


ISEPP's past Executive Director, Al Galves, explains why attempts to reduce stigma is a failed attempt.


  • ISEPP had the good fortune to have one of the last appearances of DR. THOMAS SZASZ. Your statement rings so true: "NOW I KNOW. I'M NOT CRAZY-THEY ARE"! BTW,i heard that a simple soy-drip IV is a partial antidote to psychotropic drugs.

  • I am uncomfortable with mental health 'caring' focused on addressing stigma. Worse, is the message by some psychiatrists that a patient will feel "grateful" for the diagnosis of a certain mental illness . I was a victim of sexual and betrayal trauma at a young age. which fostered a dissociative talent that allowed me to survive unthinkable hypocrisies (including covered-up clergy abuse). My transformation from 'victim' to 'survivor' came when I realized that my mental illness was a reaction to other people's lies - and that I was drawn into complicity in their lies in order to support their fantasy - and the fantasy I hoped for as well. I blamed myself, and was encouraged to do so, and to continue to do so for a lifetime of the bargain. It wasn't just the trauma that happened to me way back when, it was the ongoing lies, secrecy, complicity, and shame that I was induced to inflict upon myself in order to preserve an established fantasy and record of growing up in a safe and protective environment. Al Galves, you use the phrase "reactions to people's lives" to describe roots of mental illness, and I want to substitute the phrase "reaction to people's lies..." The point about stigma is that I am not the one who is defective, it is the world around me that is defective. When I understand that I was deluded by "the people's lies," I am able to conquer my delusions by ridding myself of shame that I created within myself, that made me feel powerless, worthless, and dependent on others. It was not my reaction to my life that kept me ill, it was my reaction to people's lies. I learned to defer to the unpredictability of my mind. My erratic mind won me over with its persistent authenticity which cultivated deeply felt wisdom. Now I know. I'm not crazy. They are.

  • I too am a person with lived experience and a professional. The mainstream anti-stigma campaign does rely on the illness hypothesis, but that model is not supported by any research or evidence. A multi-faceted model of etiology is supported by data. Efforts by the peer movement are likely to be more successful with an anti-stigma effect as they profess and model the type of recovery processes which occur, and which belie the illness hypothesis. I appreciated Al Golves video and presentation.

  • The issue of "blame" is key here. The Broken Brain theory avoids the blame issue by saying that all blame is on the biological nature of the person, which is permanent and will never improve. I think the Stigma model tries to say, "It's not my fault" but really, what is the person saying? He (usually she) is saying that she can't help it she's defective, she can't help it she has become dependent, she can't help it she is permanently disabled, and incapable. Also, the Broken Brain theory denies that there's any problem with our society, such as our schools, our work environments, the way we are teaching parents to parent, our climate and natural resources and population density, the way we teach professionals, and of course, the nature of our laws and our government and those in power. if many are depressed, if many cannot sleep or cannot bear children, or are beating their young, surely the society needs to take a good look at itself. It's time to take action and make changes, not beat more on the beaten.

  • Al Galves-I think your take on this is absolute genius. It IS the understanding that we as a society need to move toward, with your theory on hand... We truly could reduce stigma but any other way as you point out so eloquently and brilliantly just moves us farther away from any real solution and only compounds the problem. I believe we need to start an anti stigma campaign of our own... Called "BUT WHAT IF"... And take the way we currently see it and say but what if we saw it your way... And literally work to change people's understanding of it... What if we choose tonsil at it via your eyes and understanding of it, not the status quo... And in doing so TRULY educate people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

nine − 8 =